Four Nelson softballers were travelling to Auckland's North Shore today as part of the Southern Pride men's team to compete at the National Fastpitch Tournament.
The Southern Pride team is a South Island-based representative team formed from South Island associations.
Those selected from Nelson are Derryn French, Brandon Peck, Daniel Mallabar and Luke Bowers. Also joining the team will be former Nelson players Jack Fletcher, Joel Harris and Black Sox member Casey Eden, as the Southern Pride compete for national honours.
French will coach, assisted by Darren Alridge of Marlborough.
French said that for the Pride to be successful, the coaches were looking for consistency in the players this year.
"We have a very good team and we've had a great buildup. The Nelson and Marlborough guys have played the Black Sox and competed against each other, and all South Island representative teams have just competed in the Jeffries Cup in Christchurch. We couldn't be more prepared.
"We have some young pitchers with Black Sox member Kurt Schollum, under-19 Black Sox member Ben Watts and Canadian Brandon Peck. They're all excellent pitchers, and if they stand up to the best the country has to offer, we'll be fine. We've got the hitters to bring in the runs, so it'll come down to what happens in the field."
The Pride will play two games tomorrow, against Canterbury and Wellington, three on Friday, against North Harbour, Hutt Valley and Hawke's Bay and two on Saturday, against Auckland and Counties-Waikato, before moving into the playoffs.
Sunday's finals will be televised on Sky TV, followed by the live announcement of the Black Sox team to compete at the World Championships in 2013.
The Southern Pride team is: Brandon Peck (Nelson), Kurt Schollum (Marlborough), Ben Watts (Canterbury), Derryn French (Nelson), Kyle Marfell (Marlborough), Daniel Mallabar (Nelson), Ryan Schollum (Marlborough), Christopher Telfer (Southland), Matthew Telfer (Southland), Casey Eden (Auckland), Callum Muir (Canterbury), Joel Harris (Wellington), Jack Fletcher (Wellington), Kallan Compain (Auckland), Luke Bowers (Nelson).
- The Nelson Mail